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December 6, 2010 / Nate Harris

Pelé scores in bid to recover pele.com #UDRP

Summary of Montag Divulgaçao Ltda. v. Robert Szegedy / 1 & 1 Internet, Inc.

(WIPO Case No. D2010-1533)

Filed: September 10, 2010; Decided: November 30, 2010 (Panelist: Alistair Payne)

Disputed domain name: <pele.com>

The Parties

The Complainant Montag Divulgaçao Ltda. (“MDL”) manages the trademark rights of Pelé, the retired Brazilian football (soccer) player widely regarded as one of the best players of all time. It has registered and taken assignments for the PELE mark in several countries, with some of the registrations dating to 1996.

The Respondent Robert Szegedy registered the disputed domain name in 1995. Though he did not formally or substantively respond to the complaint, he did email WIPO regarding several timing and procedural matters.

Identity or Confusing Similarity

The disputed domain is identical to MDL’s PELE mark.

Rights or Legitimate Interest

There is no evidence to suggest that MDL authorized Mr. Szegedy to register the disputed domain, nor that the parties have any prior relationship. Furthermore, Mr. Szegedy does not appear to be making a bona fide use of the disputed domain. Rather, the domain resolves to a “place keeper” website indicating that the disputed domain is for sale.

Therefore, Mr. Szegedy has failed to rebut MDL’s prima facie case that he has no rights or legitimate interest in the disputed domain.

Bad Faith

Even though the Disputed Domain Name was registered by the Respondent, who is now based in the United States of America, in 1995 the Panel infers that because of the reputation attaching to Pele’s name the Respondent must have been aware of the footballer and on the balance of probabilities registered the Disputed Domain Name because of the footballer’s repute.

Thus, the Panel finds that the disputed domain was registered in bad faith in light of Pelé’s pre-existing common law rights. The fact that the disputed domain resolves to a mere placeholder page does not preclude the Panel from finding that the disputed domain was used in bad faith, especially since Mr. Szegedy appeared to be trying to sell the domain in order to profit from Pelé’s reputation.

Decision

The Panel orders that the disputed domain name be transferred to MDL.

Commentary

A good, straightforward decision. Since that’s all I’ve got, how about a picture of Pele trying to head the ball in against Sweden during the 1958 World Cup final?

Epilogue

<pele.com> points to a blank page.

In circumstances where a domain name has not been actively used then panels have still been prepared to infer bad faith in appropriate circumstances. (Telstra Corporation Limited v Nuclear Marshmallows, WIPO Case No. D2000-0003. In this case the PELE name and mark is well known, there is an indication from the website to which the Disputed Domain Name resolves that the Respondent was inviting offers for purchase of the Disputed Domain Name and in addition the Respondent failed to provide any explanation for its registration or use of the Disputed Domain Name. In these circumstances the Panel infers that the Respondent intended to profit from the Disputed Domain Name and that it therefore has used the Disputed Domain Name in bad faith.
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One Comment

  1. Bret Moore / Dec 6 2010 5:53 am

    This is a pretty interesting case, actually. Look at that old registration date! So much for the laches arguments recently.

Comments are closed.